Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cooking: Onigiri (Rice Balls)

Recently, we visited Tanto Restaurant on El Camino which as I previous stated, is supposed to be like a pub like eatery. In particular, one dish stuck out in Justyn's mind and those were the toasted rice balls topped with fish egg and scallion. The day before yesterday, he excitedly pointed out that there was a recipe on how to make these rice balls in one of the cook books that his mom had bought for me. I said that I'd make them for him since we had all the ingrediants at home. We stopped off at Trader Joes to get some 2BC and went home.

I immediately wanted to cook the rice since that would take the longest, however when I poured the rice into the cooker, I realized that I didn't have enough. I ended up having to go to Albertson's to get more rice. Since I was there, I also bought some scallions for garnish.

Now armed with enough rice, I washed it and fired the cooker up. 20 minutes later, we had sticky rice to have fun with. Before that, we had to let the rice cool down a bit.

The next step was wetting our hands so the rice wouldn't stick to them while we shaped them. We found that the easiest shape to form was a flat circle. I believe I was successful in making a triangular shaped one too. We stuffed them with some canned salmon and scallion. Together we made 7 rice balls. Justyn was hungry so with some of the leftover rice, he dumped a bunch of furikake (rice seasoning), spread some seaweed jelly, topped with salmon and green onion and tried to form a rice ball out of all of that. Yeah, that didn't work out too well. The whole thing fell apart while he ate it. I tried a bite and it was yummy though.

Three of the rice balls went into the oven for toasting and the others would be consumed as is. While we waited for the rice balls to toast, I took the opportunity to snap some pictures of the ones that I made. One is coated in furikake and the other is the triangular one with a piece of seaweed wrapped around it. I made some sauce out of grated ginger, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and a dash of sesame oil.

Justyn let me have one the toasted rice balls so I could smear some red miso. The cookbook featured different ways to enjoy onigiri, and one was with the miso. Since I had some leftover in the fridge, I smeared it onto the half toasted rice ball. It went back into the oven to finish toasting. Unfortunately, we didn't check them often enough and the miso burned. It wasn't exactly ruined, so I still ate it. The toasted rice balls weren't my favorite, but I think the rice should be flavored before toasting. I felt it was a little too bland even with the dipping sauce and the miso on top was bitter and salty. Blech...

I didn't want the whole dinner to be mostly carbs, so I served some salad dressed with our favorite dressing, Angelo Pietro Shoyu. Mmm.. this stuff is seriously good and has so many different applications. I served the salad in my new monkey bowl.

Anyway, you don't realize how much rice is actually in these little rice balls. I think I started out with 3 cups of rice which yielded 7 onigiri. I could only finish 1.75 and Justyn happily finished the rest. It was somewhat of a success, but next time I want to try using rice molds to make different shapes and use different toppings for more variety.

1 comment:

tigerfish said...

Wow, I seldom make Jap food. I can learn from you :D